Tomorrow (Thursday 10 December) marks the official end to the grouse shooting season which in Scotland can best be described as something of a Curate's egg, according to Sporting Lets disappointing for many, but extremely good on a small number of moors.
Robert Rattray, partner at CKD Galbraith and head of the firm's Sporting Lets agency, said:
Grouse moor owners have had a particularly challenging season this year due primarily to the relentless cold and wet weather over the critical breeding period of May, June and July which put paid to many of the high hopes after the record season of 2014. So it came as no surprise that many moors cancelled all or part of their programmes.
It therefore seemed something of a miracle that keepers on some moors were predicting another bumper season. As it was their predictions were spot on with moors including Dorback and Invermark finding themselves with large quantities of grouse.
Reports of more birds being seen by mid-September seemed to bear out, the theory being that this was the appearance of the very late second brood chicks.
Invermark for example will have shot nearly 7000 brace by the end of the season, which is a record year for them since 1913 when 5189 brace were shot. For a moor that might usually expect about 2000 brace, it is a testament to the investment, hard work on the ground and overall management of the estate.
For those moor owners who were in the fortunate position of having lots of grouse they have enjoyed one of the fullest and longest programmes in living memory, with shooting taking place right up to the season's end.
The grouse industry is vitally important to rural Scotland. An area of around 1 million hectares / 2.5 million acres is used for grouse shooting in Scotland (one seventh of Scotland's land mass) and it is a multi-million pound income generating industry supporting 2640 full time jobs and providing 30.1 million in wages.